{ Co-designed and fisher-driven ICTs towards transformation of small-scale fisheries governance, ‘from hook to cook}

The ABALOBI initiative is an open, transdisciplinary and social learning endeavour, bringing together various stakeholders, with traditional fishers taking centre stage. ABALOBI, as a mobile app suite and programme, is aimed at social justice and poverty alleviation in the small-scale fisheries chain, transformation in the way we produce knowledge, stewardship of our marine resources, and resilience building in the face of climate change.

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Many of our team members, including the small-scale fishers of South Africa, were integrally involved in the design of South Africa’s new Small-Scale Fisheries Policy, which emanated from a Constitutional Court Order and international human and fishing rights obligations. ABALOBI brings us together as an extension of our research, advocacy and policy work, and launches us into implementation and co-operative governance.
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{ Working towards good governance and embracing a human-rights-based approach to fisheries: Through the development of an integrated small-scale fisheries information management system and mobile app suite, the ABALOBI initiative aims to enable small-scale fishing communities to be incorporated into information and resource networks: from fishery monitoring and maritime safety, to local development and market opportunities }

ABALOBI, isiXhosa for small-scale fisher, is the name given to the app suite by small-scale fisherfolk involved in the co-development process


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    Promoting stewardship

    Fishers encouraged to serve as custodians and promote sustainability. Allows opportunity for integration with conservation efforts.

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    Empowerment in the value chain

    Working towards community-supported fisheries and traceable slowfish. Empowerment through market information and collective action.

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    Co-operative fisheries governance

    Using a common knowledge base, based on fishers’ daily data, all stakeholders at the co-management table are poised equally.

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    Ecosystems approach to fisheries

    Decisions by fishers and other stakeholders can be based on ecological and social indicators.

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    Climate change adaptation

    Improved safety at sea and resilience building in the face of climate change.

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    Enabling tool for policy implementation

    Small-Scale Fisheries Policy (South Africa) and UN-FAO Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (International)

{ What started as a participatory action research project with a strong community development interface, has evolved into a social enterprise that is now being registered as a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) and public benefit entity to better serve its fisher-driven mission }

Transdisciplinary research

Stakeholders work together in framing the problem and research needs, leading to the co-design of the tool based on input and tests in real-life contexts.

Co-design and fisher-driven process

Ensures data ownership and trust. Practical development and implementation within a bottom-up, participatory framework. Focus on product, process and enabling policy.

Open source & free for small-scale fishers

Leveraging the latest tech and open source platforms. Sharing innovations globally.

Recognition of fishers’ knowledge

Bridging local knowledge with science and policy. Developing knowledge for co-management.

ICT4D for small-scale fisheries: The ABALOBI initiative is about catalysing real transformation, of knowledge generation, of people, and of resource governance


The ABALOBI app suite comprises five inter-connected apps – conceptualised in a co-design process and currently in various stages of development and testing. The five apps cover the full spectrum of stakeholders in the small-scale fisheries sector from hook to cook, governance and beyond. Learn more …


The foundation of the app suite where fishers co–produce knowledge. Personal logbook with sharing options. Safety-at-sea integrations. More ...


Digitised community catch monitoring at the landing site & along the shoreline. More ...


Real-time fishery data & communications for co-management. More ...


Co-operative member & fleet management. Collective & transparent accounting. Catch value-adding. More ...


Fish with an ecological & social ‘story‘. Towards community-supported fisheries. Empowerment in the value chain. More ...

International reach

Beyond South Africa: An open source approach to the development of the ABALOBI platform seeks to allow customisation and use by small-scale fisheries stakeholders worldwide, aligned with the implementation of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO’s) Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries.


Aligned with the United Nations SDGs


Founding partners


Get involved

We are seeking to expand our partnerships and procure additional funding for the continued development of ABALOBI. We welcome expressions of interest from prospective funders and research, technology & implementation partners ...

In the news


ABALOBI with Masifundise Development Trust and Robin Peter Georgefacebook.com/10157735920970722">Serge Raemaekersfacebook.com/236495410018979">UCT Research and Innovationfacebook.com/1082585975188652">Craig Smithfacebook.com/1266492150086370">Tania Thandokazi Moyikwafacebook.com/1526420940718426">Jackie Sundefacebook.com/249627092969">University of Cape Townfacebook.com/10210639524013555">Stuart du Plessisfacebook.com/10207556477413658">Eduardo Koloma Jrfacebook.com/10207494640546738">Nico Waldeckfacebook.com/10210599891294436">Abongile Ngqongwafacebook.com/10157781926025441">Tatiana Piazzafacebook.com/541637639756">Gabriel Roux. ... See MoreSee Less

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What a vibrant and inspiring two days at the UNESCO Netexplo Forum 2017 in Paris! While we didn't ta...

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What a vibrant and inspiring two days at the UNESCO Netexplo Forum 2017 in Paris! While we didn't take home the top prize (congratulations to fellow innovation Bitnation Pangea!), we were placed in the top 10 of over 2000 tech and digital innovations globally!

Interviewed by climate change specialist, Ian Monroe, of Stanford University, and joined on stage by Gabriel Roux of partner company Stratech, ABALOBI co-founder Serge Raemaekers insisted that the small-scale fishers were the driving force and the success behind this initiative. Receiving the award, in recognition of ABALOBI's alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Raemaekers said: "I can't wait to go home to South Africa to show this {the trophy} to the fishers!"

We hope to be able to share the video of the insightful interview with you soon!

#ProudlySouthAfrican! 🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦

#cocreation #codevelopment #codesign #ICT4fisheries #ICT4D #smallscalefisheries #traditionalfisheries #localknowledge
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We are #ProudlySouthAfrican this morning as we get ready to present ABALOBI at the 2017 Netexplo Forum in Paris! If you missed yesterday's post, ABALOBI has made it to the top 10 of over 2000 tech innovations selected internationally by Netexplo. Catch the live stream of co-founder and MD Serge Raemaekers presenting the initiative at 10h30 this morning at netexplo.com ...

#ICT4Fisheries #ICT4D #Smallscalefisheries

UCT Research and Innovation
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For us, #ICT4D is all about co-creation and co-development ...

... and it's always exciting to release new functions in the ABALOBI suite of apps, as requested by the small-scale fishers themselves or local fisher assistants. A new update of ABALOBI ANALYTICS – our dashboard app within ABALOBI FISHER – now allows any user to email a handy PDF report to themselves or to key stakeholders.

Our new release of ABALOBI REGISTER – where fishers and other stakeholders register to access the FISHER LOGBOOK, or other stakeholders register to access certain data visualisations – now also allows offline batch registrations. This is a handy feature in rural areas with limited wifi or network access points. ABALOBI REGISTER in more specific fisheries scientific terms, is the ideal platform to run baseline or frame surveys in different contexts. It is also the starting point for fishers to access the suite of management and value-chain applications.

Access the apps here: play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Abalobi

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